Pillboxes of WW2


In 1940 Dover was a front-line town and at least a suspected landing place for an expected German invasion.   As a result of this Dover, along with the rest of Kent and many other coastal areas had anti-invasion defences and emergency gun batteries thrown up as quickly as possible.   As a rule the anti-invasion defences consisted of beach obstacles  such as barbed wire, iron rails (usually railway line), anti-tank blocks, spigot mortars, pillboxes and sometimes flame barrages.  An impressive range of anti-tank concrete blocks can be seen at Felixstowe, behind Languard Fort.  Pillboxes and Spigot mortar mountings were also built in strategic places around towns.


Dover has a good range of pillboxes, but the most common one to be found on the hills covering the main roads into the town are commonly known as 'Dover Type' and are not seen elsewhere in the country.  These are square buildings, loopholed with overhanging reinforced concrete roofs. On Western Heights there are only two types, the Dover Type and Type 23.

The Type 23 has a main enclosed roofed section suitable for a garrison of 5 men and a maximum of 4 light machine guns.  There is also an ‘outside’ section again enclosed, which has a mounting for an anti-aircraft gun.  This mounting takes the form of a 6’6” steel pole.

 It may be interesting to note ‘Tactical Notes for Platoon Commanders’, 1941…

 Strong posts (Pillboxes):

1.               The concrete pillbox is a great aid to defence if intelligently used;  if not, it may become a death trap.

2.                 Concrete is a protection against bullets, shell splinters and weather.  Sometimes it affords protection against shellfire.  If properly camouflaged it is also protection from ground and air on=observation.

3.                 Many concrete posts are not complete protection against a direct hit from a shell or aerial bomb.  They all have the disadvantage of limiting the field of view and the field of fire.  The garrison will be unable to use all their rifles at one and the same time because of the fewness of the loopholes.  Finally the garrison is hindered in the employment of the hand grenade and bayonet.’

 There are only 4 Type 23 pillboxes at Western Heights;  Two at St. Martin’s Battery and one at each end of Citadel Battery.

'Dover' Type Pillbox on Drop Redoubt Scarp

'Dover' Type Pillbox on North of Citadel Counterscarp

Type 23 Pillbox at St. Martin's Battery

'Dover' Type Overlooking Folkestone/Dover Road,

Built on the Back of the Fieldgun House Below, May 1999

Fieldgun House, Circa 1940, Overlooking Folkestone/Dover Road, May 1999

Embrasure Bricked Up Recently

Above Fieldgun House in Context

Another 'Dover' Type overlooking Folkestone Road

Jan 2000

Type 23 at the west entrance to Citadel Battery

Jan 2000

The same Type 23 from interesting angle showing anti-aircraft gun mounting

Sept 1999